- Posted August 21, 2014 by
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While all the Batman, Superman, Starwars, X-men, Avengers and other familiar characters keep fueling the annual comparisons of “Who Wore it Best”, the “Blonde Baroness” became an instant Comic-Con celebrity for simply breaking the “cosplayer code”. Being a Sci-Fi enthusiast herself and her son a huge Star Wars fan, Elissa Tracy first attended Comic-Con like everyone else drawn to its Mecca of pop-culture collectibles. But also being a pop-art painter in life, her intro to Comic-Con fueled a stream of inspiration - which began with her painting an entire series of GI Joe icons. She then became inspired by the comic’s femme fatale Baroness character and also realized her striking physical resemblance to her – except for her natural blonde hair. So, that next year at Comic-Con she decided to make her debut as the “Blonde Baroness” – only it didn’t go over as well as she thought.
Your Comic-Con debut as the Blonde Baroness created a lot of controversy. Why?
The original G.I. Joe Baroness character is a brunette and that year I decided to go as the Blonde Baroness, there also happened to be a lot of hard core G.I. Joe fans there as well. They immediately “outed” me for not being true to comic.
What was your reaction?
Well I’m not someone that has ever really followed the status quo anyways, so I embraced the controversy of being a rule breaker and became the original Blonde Baroness, owning it from head to toe. Eventually, they accepted it and by the next year the Blonde Baroness was really welcomed at Comic-Con and she’s actually been growing a fan base every year since.
This year you even had Pit Viper Studios custom design the entire Blonde Baroness outfit for you.
Yes, this was definitely the best Blonde Baroness year yet. Pit Viper Studios designs production sets for movies and they wanted to do a collaboration on 80’s characters, so a few months before Comic-Con we agreed to team up. They did such an amazing job; they custom designed it down to every little fine detail. Latex, leather, fiberglass, a corset…it took me a couple of hours to get ready but it was definitely worth the result.
You refer to the Blonde Baroness as her. Has she become your Comic-Con alter ego?
She’s become my alter ego in life. The thing about cosplay is that you’re not just putting on a costume to go to a Halloween party, you actually become that character and for a lot of us who’ve doing it year after year, it kind of does become your alter ego. Especially if the character inspires you in that bigger than life iconic kind of way.
Some people consider cosplay to be performance art, has that also inspired you as a painter?
A big part of the Comic-Con cosplayer experience is people wanting to take pictures of you – not you but your character. So as the Blonde Baroness constantly being photographed, I wanted to explore that as an artist and it inspired me to paint a series of self-portraits as the Blonde Baroness. Doing that really helped me to explore more of my own personality and then put it all out there on canvas - kind of like baring my soul for all to see. It has really helped me discover things about myself as a person and as an artist.
Being a pop-culture icon with her own social media following, what has the Blonde Baroness discovered about pop-culture itself?
A lot of things, but one I find most interesting is this entire sub-culture on Instagram called the “Cobra Legion”, which is from the original G.I. Joe comic series. But these are die-hard fans that have really carried on the tradition of being either for the good guys or for the bad guys. No wavering, no exceptions. Since the Baroness is one of the original villains, the Blonde Baroness is getting a lot of Cobra Legion comrades on Instagram.
So the next time anyone tries to mess with the Blonde Baroness, the Cobra Legion has her back.